$29 and Under: Center Stage Deli offers huge cast of affordable entrees

In the mood for a sandwich and cup of soup for lunch? After a visit to the Center Stage Deli, I feel

Center Stage Deli

WHERE: 2678 Hamburg St., Rotterdam. Telephone: 355-7791 or 355-7998.

WHEN: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

OTHER INFO: Handicapped accessible. MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover. www.centerstagedeli.com

COST: $26.86.

In the mood for a sandwich and cup of soup for lunch?

After a visit to the Center Stage Deli, I feel confident in predicting you’ll find something here that will tempt your tastebuds.

All right, I didn’t find tongue on the menu, but just about everything else is there — from chopped liver, liverwurst and meatloaf to tuna melts and peanut butter and jelly. Add a cup of the soup du jour — on the day we visited it was a hearty and flavorful minestrone — and you’ve got a satisfying, and inexpensive, meal.

At a late lunch at the Center Stage Deli on a recent weekday, I had no small amount of difficulty figuring out what I wanted. There are so many choices.

Offerings at the deli, which used to be in downtown Schenectady on Jay Street and in the Proctors arcade, include soups and salads and the usual sides (french fries, onion rings, macaroni salad, baked beans and pasta salad, priced from $2 to $3) wraps, grill fare, burgers, and lots of sandwiches, both hot and cold, standard size, subs and triple deckers. The highest price I could find on the menu was $9.50 for the giant corned beef and pastrami gourmet sub sandwich. (Besides the corned beef and pastrami, they pile on tomato, salami, lettuce, onion, cole slaw, and then top it off with melted cheese and Russian dressing.)


I finally decided on a cup of the minestrone ($2.79), which came with oyster crackers and was chock full of veggies and pasta in a flavorful broth, and a turkey and bacon triple decker sandwich on toasted rye bread ($8.95). The sandwich, thick with meat, included tomato slices, lettuce and Russian dressing (a lot of sandwiches come with the house Russian dressing, but it’s good enough that I couldn’t complain). My sandwich came with a choice of salad, and I picked the cole slaw, which was crispy fresh and flavored with a piquant dressing that I found to my liking. (Cole slaw can be dismally ordinary, but I found Center Stage’s to be a cut above.)

Lunch date Beverly chose the roast beef wrap ($8.95). This was another prodigious sandwich, a pile of rare roast beef, Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomatoes with a nippy horseradish sauce, which no doubt was the real attraction to a diehard horseradish fan. Her salad choice was a garden variety with a vinaigrette dressing.

We each boxed up half our sandwich to take home.

The menu offers a lot of flexibility for building your own sandwich. You can add cheese or bacon or cole slaw, for example, for 50 cents to $1.50, depending on your choice.

There’s a diverse selection of cold sandwiches — things like egg salad, chicken salad, grilled chicken, mixed Italian and, yes, bologna. Prices range from $3.95 for peanut butter and jelly to $6.99 for hot pastrami or corned beef.

Hot sandwich choices range from classic turkey, roast beef or meatloaf with gravy and french fries ($8.95) to eggplant with fries ($7.50) and sausage and peppers with fries ($6.95).

Center Stage’s burger choices include “Our Famous Jumbo Hamburger” ($6.95 including french fries and cole slaw), a mushroom burger with Swiss cheese ($8.50 with the same sides), and pulled pork ($8.95 with sides).


Off the grill at the deli are the grilled Reuben for $7.95, knockwurst with sauerkraut and beans for $6.50 and a Monte Cristo with ham, turkey and cheese for $7.50.

And if sandwiches or burgers aren’t your thing, you can also find a grilled Chicken Caesar Salad for $7.99, Taco Salad for $7.59 or an Asian grilled chicken salad, for $7.99.

We skipped dessert, but we did spend a little time in the front of the deli ogling the offerings behind the display case glass, including the bread and rice puddings, which were made with a silky custard, and the baked beans, which looked a lot like Mom’s.

Our tab, for sandwiches with sides, a soda and an iced tea, and a cup of soup came to $26.86 with tax but before tip, and we felt we’d gotten more than our money’s worth.


The Center Stage Deli, which also operates a catering business, capitalizes on its show biz theme on its menu and on its walls. Owners David and Kevin Kniskern are listed as “producer” and “director,” respectively, on the menu cover, and the walls are adorned with numerous posters from shows at Proctors with autographs by many of the stars who ate at the deli while in town. Among them were the cast of “Cats;” Robert Goulet, who was touring with “Man of La Mancha;” and comedic actor Don Knotts.

Categories: Food, Life and Arts

Leave a Reply